Bradford Bulls situation is a boil which needs lancing

The ongoing dramas at Bradford Bulls took on a new level of farce this week, with the sacking of head coach Francis Cummins.

Quite why Cummins was to blame for their current woes is mystery, really. Unless there is some long-term plan behind it, then it seems a pointless act.

Long-term plans have also been conpsicuous by their absence at Odsal in recent years, too.

The way that the club, under various adminstrative regimes, has played on the loyalty of fans to extract donations, and then clearly wasted the money, really galls.

It seemed part of wider trend in society, where working people were left trying to bail out the mistakes of rich entrepreneurs who had clearly done a terrible job.

It is also impossible to really blame the RFL for any of this. As they have stated frequently, it is not their responsibility to run badly organised clubs.

Yet we hear that Marc Green, who to his credit has said that he is at the club for the long-term, at least so he can one day walk out at Wembley, is set to appeal against the club’s six-point deduction for going into administration once again.

All this will do is increase the levels of discomfort and embarassment about the situation within the game, and leave things festering and swelling for another few months.

I remember a couple of years ago, before the advent of the Koukash era, visiting Salford for a media day. What struck me was how fragile the whole structure of the club was in those dark days. It really gave the impression of an ‘organisation’ clinging on by its fingernails.

Only by tearing it all down and starting again did they emerge stronger. It will take time at Salford, and probably longer than Dr Koukash originally envisaged, but one day they will be a big club again.

Bradford’s boil needs lancing in a similar way, only a complete root and branch clear-out and a fresh start can bring an end to this tedious and embarrassing saga. If the club is relegated, as seems almost certain now, then they can start building again.

It is not as if they will be the first club to do this, the likes of Hull KR dropped down to the game’s third tier in the early 1990s, and struggled to rise again in the wake of the launch of Super League. Sheffield Eagles had to start again from absolutely nothing after an ill-conceived merger with Huddersfield. There are plenty of precedents.

Widnes and Huddersfield have also had to undergo painful restructures and rebuilds in recent times. The idea that the Bulls should somehow be immune to the vagaries of fortune and hubris which can affect any club, simply because they happened to have won a lot of trophies not very long ago, is childishly absurd.

And now, with the new structure, there is a pathway back to the big league for them, should they fall. Perhaps it is time to start looking for long-term plans rather than short-term sticking plaster fixes which keep the patient alive, but with few vital signs.

It is time for a new Bradford, one that the fans can be proud of again. If it takes a humbling drop down the leagues before the phoenix rises from the ashes, then so be it.

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